India, US researchers collaborate to develop optogenetic tools to understand brain disorders

Researchers at Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) in collaboration with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) have developed an optogenetic tool that may help understand brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression and schizophrenia.

In a statement, Jamia said the tool can study molecular trafficking in neurons and has been developed by Dr Tanveer Ahmed, who had postdoctoral training at the NIH, the multidisciplinary Center for Advanced Research and Studies at the university. (MCARS) prior to joining. an assistant professor.

“Understanding the molecular details of these diseases will help develop targeted therapies, in particular viral and mRNA-based methods, that are specific for a particular target molecule in cells,” Ahmed said.

He said the tool could be applied to address other biological questions such as memory formation, and to the development of inductive light-activated therapies to treat cancer and neurodegeneration.

Taking advantage of the potential of phototropic receptors known as the light-oxygen-voltage-sensing domains, derived from Avena sativa (oats) and abbreviated as AsLOV2, the researchers combined a light-transformation of LOV2 with a protein. Created innovative chimeric molecular designs by conjugating sensitive domains. Neurogulin 3 (NRG3).

In addition, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and depression have genetic polymorphisms in NRG3, due to which it is considered a susceptibility gene for these diseases, according to the statement.

Using this innovative tool, the researchers discovered a new mechanism of protein trafficking in the brain’s hippocampal neurons, which they called “trans-synaptic retention.”

Professor Mohd. MCARS Director Zulfquar said that these new futuristic optogenetic techniques will provide unprecedented ease in understanding human diseases and finding innovative treatment solutions.

He said that optogenetic technology has revolutionized the field of neuroscience and collaboration with world institutions like NIH shows that India is at the forefront of developing and implementing these cutting edge technologies.

A study in this regard was published by The Rockefeller University, US in a highly prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal – “Journal of Cell Biology”, JMI said in a statement.

It said Ahmed is the lead author of the study while Rituparna Choudhary and Nisha Choudhary are the other authors.

The NIH team includes Dr. Andres Buonano, senior author, and Dr. Detlef Vulhorst, Dr. Carlos Guardia, Dr. Irina Karavanova, and Dr. Juan Bonifacino, who are co-authors.

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